Architecture Without Content

10. Roman Architecture

Architecture without Content 10 is Roman Architecture. It is a try-out for a new series of researches that will be called the Roman Project. In that research we will investigate the possibility for a universal territorial architecture with a radically simple materiality. It is no surprise we come up with this. The Roman project is in many ways a rediscovery of the European territory through the architectural project. Europe here has to be understood as a cultural and geographic entity/being, with an enormous cultural diversity but a fascinating cohesion. Simultaneously the Roman project is an attempt to revive a possible reading of Europe (and the world) as an Even Covered Field. The Even Covered Field presents to us simply the acceptance of the world as fully urbanized, as a gigantic interior. If Europe has originally been the cradle in which the figure-ground relationship developed, it becomes now of utmost importance to look again into the place of its obsolescence. In ‘Roman Architecture’ we will scrutinize in a short but intensive way a set of given architectures that were seemingly capable to find a particular relationship between object and field. Through drawing we will understand their proper form and in phase two abuse their formal power. In the second part we will make ‘False Friends’: copies of the discovered projects that perform differently. This in an attempt to define a possible set of architectures able to negotiate with the European territory in a well defined but ambiguous way. 

Manoeuvres that are capable to create hierarchies and points of reference are crucial to aspire to a certain order in a world increasingly hard to grasp. It is about time to revive this radical and simple idea of a proto-architecture, as it might give a valuable answer to our current and fundamental desire to build without waste, to embrace a veritable equilibrium between living, working and the world. It is now that we can develop fundamentals of sustainability, not through silly rhetoric, but through de re-development of an ancient relationship between man and territory. Since any architecture should celebrate the act of building as a substantial effort produced by any society in a necessary long-term perspective.